Hawkeyes' narrow miss snaps state's NCAA Tournament streak

Ryan Murken
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder shouts instructions to her players as they face Purdue Sunday, January 24, 2016, at Mackey Arena. Purdue defeated Iowa 90-73.

The run of NCAA Tournament appearances for the Iowa women’s basketball team ended at eight on Monday with the unveiling of the NCAA Tournament's field of 64.

According to NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee chair Chris Dawson the Hawkeyes didn’t miss by much.

Dawson declared Iowa (19-13) as one of the first four teams out during the women’s tournament selection show on ESPN on Monday, citing the Hawkeyes, North Carolina State, Ohio and UTEP as the final teams left out of the 2016 field.

According to Dawson the final four teams to earn at-large berths were Missouri, Princeton, Purdue and St. Bonaventure.

“I think the toughest decision with the first four out is that we had a large group of teams that looked a lot alike and as you looked at individual teams each had its own merit,” Dawson said. “So the committee had to look at them collectively and looking across all the factors that we considered, decide who were the teams that deserved to be in the field and throughout the vetting and voting process we came up with the last four that I mentioned.”

Iowa was denied an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2007 just a year after making its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1996

With the Hawkeyes' near miss the state of Iowa had a string of 12 consecutive seasons with at least one team in the tournament snapped.

This year’s tournament will mark the first time since 2003 that one of the state’s four Division I programs hasn’t appeared in the NCAA Tournament.

The state of Iowa had at least two teams 10 times during that 12-year string and had at least one team in the field in 29 of the last 30 NCAA Tournaments.

One of only 10 teams in the country, and the lone Big Ten team to appear in the last eight NCAA Tournaments, Iowa went 4-6 in its final 10 games this season.

Iowa had an RPI of 58 and a strength of schedule of 31, but went 1-7 against RPI top-50 opponents and an even 10-10 against teams in the RPI top 100.

The Big Ten had five teams in the NCAA Tournament field as Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue all earned berths.

Big Ten regular-season and tournament champion Maryland earned a No. 2 seed in the Lexington region, while Ohio State earned a No. 3 seed.

Michigan State is a No. 4 seed, Indiana is a No. 9 seed and Purdue, one of the final four teams in the field, earned a No. 11 seed.

Iowa, Drake and Northern Iowa all earned bids to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

The Hawkeyes will host Ball State and Drake will host Sacred Heart on Thursday.

Northern Iowa, which automatically qualified for the WNIT thanks to its Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title, will play at Nebraska on Thursday.

Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or murken@press-citizen.xom and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.